Technology is both the main cause of environmental degradation and the main solution to environmental problems. A new technology can recycle and reuse a waste, reduce pollution from a machine, increase energy use efficiency, etc. There are three types of technologies that contribute to economic development. They are as follows:
- Technology that contributes to deterioration of the environment.
- Technology that has little effect on the environment.
- Technology that restores or improves the environment.
Industry as society’s producer has choices available about what technology to select and each industry has the capacity to innovate. Agenda 21 of Rio Earth Summit states, “Science and technology can overcome environmental problems, allowing continuing resource extraction and use, producing products, thus raising the standard of living.”
There is a perspective that scarcity of resources will act as a catalyst for innovation and change. As materials become scarce, research gets stimulated, prompting exploration, substitution, recycling, reuse and increases in efficiency. The increased efficiency and technology would increase the carrying capacity. Growing population not only creates markets, but also brings more creativity, energy and innovation to solve the environmental problems.
Different levels of scientific development have diverse technology absorption capabilities. For example, the lowering of leased line costs has increased the usage of the internet by businesses however raw materials have been used to create this copper based technology. What is appropriate in the context of a developing world is the technology favoring optimum use of local resources and reducing dependence on outside technologies that might have been developed for a different set of resources and situations. Appropriate choice of technology out of a wide range must be available for different industries, considering the effects on employment, environment and social equity. Social science research is also needed for new behaviors to preserve the environment.
There are technologies in the economic development sphere to increase the production of goods, conserve raw materials and produce green products. There is technology in the environmental spests, etc., and to reduce wastes. In the social sphere, new technologies to create awareness and improve the health, sanitation and literacy of all, so that the fruits of economic development can be enjoyed are also available here helping to conserve energy, water, forests, etc., and to reduce wastes. In the social sphere, new technologies to create awareness and improve the health, sanitation and literacy of all, so that the fruits of economic development can be enjoyed are also available.